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IFAD President pays courtesy call on Pres. Sirleaf

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Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze has paid a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry Office in Monrovia amid pledge for continued support to strengthen Liberia’s agricultural sector.  An Executive Mansion release Monday said, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze made the pledge when he briefed Mrs. Sirleaf on his visit to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

IFAD is an International Financial Institution and a specialized United Nations Agency that is dedicated to eliminating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. IFAD provides low interest rate loans and grants to developing countries to finance innovative agricultural and rural developments programs and projects.

Dr. Nwanze commended President Sirleaf for her extraordinary leadership skills exhibited over the years and for surviving the challenges that confronted Liberia’s development over last few years. He said he was pleased and encouraged by the degree of resilience of the Liberian people and also for the general recognition to prioritize agriculture.

Dr. Nwanze said IFAD has earmarked nearly US$50 million to invest in the agriculture sector of Liberia. He made the disclosure at a joint press conference he addressed with Liberia’s Agriculture Minister Dr. Moses M. Zinnah in the Cabinet Room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Nwanze said nearly US$25 million will go towards two projects- tree crop extension from Lofa to Nimba counties and the Community Financing Institutions that cut across 10 commercial banks accredited by the Central Bank of Liberia. The amount covers undisbursed allotments for the period of 2013 to 2015 respectively adding, “what I can say to you is that IFAD has allocated an additional US$25million to undefined area,” IFAD boss revealed.

He said, the stipulated amount is subject to government’s approval both in terms of the area of investment as well as benefiting counties. The purpose, he said, is to afford local farmers and people access to banking services through the accredited banking institutions. IFAD boss earlier assured President Sirleaf of his institution’s support to the country with the aim of generating the needed impact, especially in the livelihoods of the country’s rural population.

He furthered that they were happy for the level of fruitful discussion with members of the Liberian government. He said he was impressed with the progress that Agriculture Minister, Dr. Moses Zinnah and team have made. “And I am happy the President of the Republic is in line with this,” the head of the IFAD delegation noted.

In remarks, President Sirleaf lauded IFAD for the level of support given the Liberian government and was pleased over the relationship that continues to exit between Liberia and IFAD, and indicated how impressed she was with the country’s determination to invest more in agriculture.

The Liberian leader thanked Dr. Nwanze and his delegation for the visit and support over the years and noted a lot can be done regionally in the agriculture sector given the reduction in the price of the nation’s traditional export commodity (rubber, Iron ore). President Sirleaf pointed out that the government is trying to accelerate the process of agriculture to yield maximum benefit. 

While in the country, Dr. Nwanze held discussions with, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marjon Kamara, Finance and Development Planning Minister Boima Kamara, Public Works Minister Gyude Moore and Central Bank Governor Milton Weeks as well as some members of the National Legislature. Dr. Nwanze was accompanied by Agriculture Minister, Dr. Moses Zinnah and Ndaya Beltchika, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Liberia and Sierra Leone. –Press release

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